A point from their final Group F game against FC Steaua Bucureşti would be enough to send ACF Fiorentina into the UEFA Cup, but midfielder Riccardo Montolivo is determined the Italian visitors will push for victory.
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A point from their final Group F game against FC Steaua Bucureşti would be enough to send ACF Fiorentina into the UEFA Cup, but midfielder Riccardo Montolivo is determined the visitors will push for victory in the Romanian capital.
Neither side can reach the first knockout round, with Olympique Lyonnais and FC Bayern München having already wrapped up the section's two qualifying berths. Third position, however, is worth a place in the UEFA Cup Round of 32 and is within Fiorentina's reach should the Italian team successfully defend their two-point advantage over Steaua in Bucharest. "We want to stay in Europe, we want to continue to feel the atmosphere of international football," Montolivo said. "We know that it'll be difficult, because Steaua are a side with quality players and physical strength. But we know that we can do well."
The trap that Montolivo and his team-mates are keen to avoid is packing their half with players in the hope of preserving their goal. Though Italian football has long had a reputation for defensive solidity and playing to get the necessary result, Montolivo believes the risks of adopting that approach will be too great in front of the vocal home support at the Steaua Stadium. "Fiorentina are ready, prepared and determined, and these are the qualities we'll have to show on the pitch if we're to get the result we want. We'll be walking out there with the mentality of a team who want to win the match, because if we think of going out there looking to get a draw we'll already have made a big mistake. Clearly, we'll need to be aggressive."
Moments earlier, Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli had made the point that, although his men could expect an intimidating reception from the fans, "these are the games where players have to grow up". Though Prandelli was speaking generally, the 23-year-old Montolivo paid special attention, adding: "When the coach talks about the team growing and developing, I think he means the whole squad – but also perhaps me in particular, because I'm young and this is my first experience of the Champions League. This could be an important step in my career."